Have you ever cleaned up after Christmas morning or a birthday party and find that your child is more drawn to the box a toy came in rather than the expensive toy itself? Sure, some of the expensive toys turn out to be amazing, enriching and entertaining, but sometimes it’s the most simple items that really captivate children and their imaginations. Our Parents as Teachers educator always has amazing ideas for toys made out of items from around the house.
One of our favorite suggestions is a sensory box. We made it mostly from items we already had, and it has provided hours and hours of fun!
How to Make a Sensory Box
What I used:
- Plastic tub to contain everything
- Lots of noodles! Penne, elbow macaroni, spiral rotini and even some character-shaped pasta
- Pipe cleaners
- Pom poms
- Glitter balls
- Rubber animals
I believe we started playing with ours when my daughter was around 18 months old. In the beginning, it required a lot of supervision because she was still interested in exploring everything with her mouth aka trying to eat everything.
The goal of a sensory box is to create a tactile experience and promote learning. Whether it’s developing fine motor skills, cause and effect or science, you and your child can determine how to play.
Create a sensory box your child will be interested in. You can choose to give your box a theme, like cars or the beach. Here are some ideas for additional fillers: ribbon, sand, rice, rocks, action figures, foam shapes, craft supplies or whatever you’d like. It’s all about letting your kiddo explore multiple textures.
As a heads up, my kiddo loves to dump everything on the ground. Make sure you have a broom and dustpan nearby or come up with a fun game for getting everything back in the box.
How We Play in Our Sensory Box
We thread the noodles onto the pipe cleaners to make necklaces and crowns. We use a shovel to dig and find the puppies. Then, we play a matching game to line them up. The feathers and poms poms create a cool texture and are pretty. Use whatever your child is interested in.
The longevity of the sensory box has really impressed me. My daughter is now 3 years old and will still play it occasionally. You can always add or replace items in the box to make it a whole new toy.